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Official A4LD Problem Thread!


Westep1986

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I have the Automatic A4LD transmission in my 86 Ranger, and I'm not exactly sure which gears I'm missing to be honest, If I had to guess I'd say I only have 2nd and 3rd or 2nd and 4th. I start out and can get up to 35mph before the truck needs to shift, and to do so I have to let off the gas entirely, then it will shift. I then get up to about 45-50mph and then I let off the gas again to see if it wants to shift, but if it does I can't feel or hear a difference.
 


NCguy

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I've been having issues with my A4LD 4x4 and after learning about common reliability issues with this engine I ran across this page below. It names models with this trans am common problems. It also has suggestions for circumventing many issues.
 

Momohenri

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I do not understand why this a4ld is so criticized I had a Ford Sierra 2.0 L (mercury in usa) 4 cylinder from 1990 to 2000 with this box, I have all the maintenance invoices and the fluid and the filter do not never been changed, it had 198,000 KM and the gearbox never had any problems when the engine let go and I change the car. is the assembly different in the usa and could explain the problems?
 

wildbill23c

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I do not understand why this a4ld is so criticized I had a Ford Sierra 2.0 L (mercury in usa) 4 cylinder from 1990 to 2000 with this box, I have all the maintenance invoices and the fluid and the filter do not never been changed, it had 198,000 KM and the gearbox never had any problems when the engine let go and I change the car. is the assembly different in the usa and could explain the problems?
Same assembly, different engine. That A4LD can't handle the little power of the 2.9L V6 if its not properly maintained, and most of the issues are just that, they're not maintained. Its just not a great transmission to begin with so a little abuse, lack of maintenance, and getting it hot will kill them quickly.
 

Maui-sprint

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Switching jobs and had to give up my company truck, 2019 Ranger XL extended cab. So back into the '91 extended cab 4.0 4x4 A4LD. Sitting about 2 years now. Started her right up but would not shift into any gear.

Checked fluid level cold. Nothing on dip stick. Added Mercon 1 pint at a time until level came up to bottom of hatched section (upper hole).
Started her up and trans got all gears back. Shifting nice!
Took out for a drive to get engine hot and rechecked fluid level HOT and idling. Fluid level about 3/4" ABOVE hatches indicating OVERFILLED. No foaming noticed on stick.
Figured I would take out some fluid to get level down into hatches. So I start motor and take out fluid thru radiator cooling lines 1 quart at a time, checking level after each quart with engine idling (after running thru all gears). Fluid is brown, this baby needs a flush!
Level NOT DROPPING. Stick indicating that I'm still OVERFILLED. After removing the 3rd quart no more fluid coming out of cooling line. Check level again, DRY. It went from OVERFILLED to DRY after removing 1 quart. Try driving truck and as expected, trans not shifting.
So I slowly add more fluid to get level up into acceptable range (within hatches). Take it out for test drive. Shifting is now slower in reverse and when going up hills it hits a false neutral between 2nd and 3rd gear. Check fluid level: OVERFILLED.

Bottom line: truck is acting like its low on fluid but showing overfilled. I slowly added and removed fluid in an attempt to get her at a nice level but after a drive she always showing overflilled. No evidence of foaming apparent.

She definately needs a flush and filter replacement. I figure thats a good place to start. But something seems off. I don't know why I couldnt dial in the level after adding and removing fluid slowly. Plus shifting is poor going up hills with the false nuetrals between gears.

Why the poor shifting? Any ideas/suggestions (besides coverting to a 5-speed)?
 

Dirtman

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How are you checking the fluid? The only way to get a proper reading is with transmission in Park, engine running at idle and up to operating temp.

Checking it any other way will give you improper level, especially reading the level with engine off will always show very high.
 

RustyDusty

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I have a 1987 ranger with a 2.9 and A4LD. Has a few quirks but its my daily. It's most worrisome characteristic is its hard shifting (especially into reverse) and if I'm climbing a grade the transmission can't decide what gear it wants to be in if I'm trying to go around 50mph. It just keeps switching between gears until I ease up the gas and keep the speed at 45mph or lower. Its very harsh feeling. I havent tried adjusting the bands but I think that will be my first move. Curious if anyone has any other tips.
 

ford4wd08

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I have a 1987 ranger with a 2.9 and A4LD. Has a few quirks but its my daily. It's most worrisome characteristic is its hard shifting (especially into reverse) and if I'm climbing a grade the transmission can't decide what gear it wants to be in if I'm trying to go around 50mph. It just keeps switching between gears until I ease up the gas and keep the speed at 45mph or lower. Its very harsh feeling. I havent tried adjusting the bands but I think that will be my first move. Curious if anyone has any other tips.
Sounds like you need a new modulator if it is a harsh shift to reverse.....

I would start there for sure and see if it helps your other symptoms.

The around 50 sound smore like the TCC lock and unlock.
 

RustyDusty

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Sounds like you need a new modulator if it is a harsh shift to reverse.....

I would start there for sure and see if it helps your other symptoms.

The around 50 sound smore like the TCC lock and unlock.
Interesting, I found the modulator, that things hard to get to with the exhaust blocking it. Any way I can test it without removing? I hooked up my vacuum pump to the vacuum line that leads to it out of curiosity and it looks like the modulator holds vacuum for what its worth.

TCC lock and unlock are new terms to me, just looked it up. Would it be a computer malfunction? Ive been wanting to check out the ECM on this truck so I popped it out and opened it up and it looked really good in there, no leaking capacitors, I think it was replaced by the previous owner.

Another issue I have that might be related to this is my Throttle Position Sensor is wonky. At closed throttle it reads 1.34v and wide open its 4.75v so I got a new one. I can't seem to find any Motorcraft brand sensors for my year so I had to get a Walker sensor. When I put it in I had the exact same reading, about 1.34v with closed throttle. That really stumped me, not sure if I got two duds with the exact same numbers or if something else is wrong. I decided to take a soldering iron to the plastic part of the old sensor to mold it into a shape that would hopefully lower the voltage at closed throttle and I got it to read .88v at closed throttle. Ill take it for a test drive later to see if it affects any of my issues. I should actually just make a new thread about this specific issue.
 

joel1l1

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Hi everyone I have a 1994 Ford ranger 4.0 4x4 and the transmission just gave out, through the front seal and leaked all the trans fluid out I don’t like the A4ld much and I’ve seen they are bad in off road applications and I do off road my truck quiet often I was wondering what kind of swaps are out there that I can do that will keep the truck automatic but have a better stronger transmission, the truck has no issues only the transmission being so weak any swaps I can do ? I don’t care for fuel mileage or anything just need a better transmission for off-road I really like the 4.0 so I don’t want to swap engine either just tranny
 

RoadDog

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Try adjusting the bands again. Possibility is that they werent seated properly when adjusted after the overhaul.
Check for a vacuum leak. It won't shift without a vacuum at the vacuum modulator. I had this problem, too.
 

Tooter

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Check for a vacuum leak. It won't shift without a vacuum at the vacuum modulator. I had this problem, too.
You say it won’t shift if it doesn’t have a vacuum?
 

RoadDog

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My transmission was stuck in first gear and wouldn't shift. Sometimes it would shift if I let up on the gas. My vacuum modulator is adjustable and I had to adjust it wide open. A mechanic told me loss of vacuum or a vacuum leak will cause it too.
 

Paisano

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My A4LD was rebuilt several months ago. It's still under the 12/12 warranty. One thing that troubled me from the beginning........when I was calling around for estimates, one reputable repair shop refused to repair my transmission. They said they no longer work on A4LD's because they had too many warranty claims related to the parts kits.

That's not good.

Anyway, I have a couple concerns. When I first start my truck for the day, first gear lasts too long before it shifts into 2nd gear. And when it does shift, occasionally there is a 'slide' into 2nd. For the rest of the day after that, it doesn't do it anymore...........just the first drive of the day. Also, I notice 2nd and 3rd gear will alternately shift with the characteristic 'bump' or the shifting will be much lighter for the same conditions. Shouldn't the shifting be more consistent?
 

mmerlinn

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Anyway, I have a couple concerns. When I first start my truck for the day, first gear lasts too long before it shifts into 2nd gear. And when it does shift, occasionally there is a 'slide' into 2nd. For the rest of the day after that, it doesn't do it anymore...........just the first drive of the day. Also, I notice 2nd and 3rd gear will alternately shift with the characteristic 'bump' or the shifting will be much lighter for the same conditions. Shouldn't the shifting be more consistent?
Several possibilities here.

First, could be morning sickness, caused by converter drainback.

Could be low fluid level.

Could be worn pump gears.

Could be worn clutches.

Or any combination of the above.

I always let engine idle in neutral for a minute or so before starting out in the morning to eliminate morning sickness.

Worn internal parts can only be fixed with a good rebuild.
 

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